Kids have a tendency to fall pretty much every day. Taking a spill on your bicycle? Not unusual. Getting tripped up while sprinting across the yard. Happens every day. Kids are pretty limber so, no big deal. They bounce back pretty easily.
As you get older though, that becomes less and less true. Falling becomes more and more of a concern as you get older. One reason for this is that bones break easier and heal slower when you’re older. Older individuals tend to spend more time on the floor in pain because they have a more difficult time getting back up. Consequently, falls are the number one injury-connected cause of death in people older than 65.
It isn’t surprising, then, that healthcare professionals are always on the lookout for tools and devices that can reduce falls. New research seems to suggest that we may have discovered one such device: hearing aids.
Can hearing loss cause falls?
If you want to understand how hearing aids could potentially prevent a fall, you need to ask this relevant question: is it feasible that hearing loss can raise your chance of falling? In some cases, it appears that the answer is a strong yes.
So why does hearing loss increase the danger of a fall for people?
There isn’t exactly an intuitive link. After all, hearing loss doesn’t directly impact your ability to move or see. But this kind of direct impact on your mobility, and an increased risk of falling, can be a result of some hearing loss symptoms. Some of those symptoms include:
- Loss of balance: How does hearing loss impact your balance? Well, your inner ear is incredibly significant to your overall equilibrium. So you may find yourself dizzy, experience vertigo, and lose your balance when hearing loss impacts your inner ear. Essentially, you have a tendency to fall more often.
- Exhaustion: Your brain is working overtime and you’re always straining when you have neglected hearing loss. This means your brain is tired more often than not. A weary brain is less likely to detect that obstacle in your path, and, as a result, you might end up tripping and falling over something that an attentive brain would have noticed.
- Depression: Social solitude and possibly even cognitive decline can be the result of neglected hearing loss. You are likely to stay home a lot more when you’re socially isolated, and tripping dangers will be all around without anybody to help you.
- You have less situational awareness: You may not be capable of hearing the sound of your neighbor’s footsteps, the dog barking next door, or an oncoming vehicle when you have neglected hearing loss. In other words, your situational awareness may be substantially affected. Can you become clumsy like this as a result of hearing loss? Well, in a way yes, day-to-day activities can become more dangerous if your situational awareness is compromised. And that means you might be a little bit more likely to unintentionally stumble into something, and take a tumble.
- You’re unable to hear high-frequency sounds: When you go into a stadium, you know how even if you close your eyes, you can tell you’re in a huge space? Or how you can immediately tell that you’re in a small space when you get into a car. Your ears are actually utilizing something like “echolocation” and high-frequency sound to assist your spatial awareness. You will lose the ability to quickly make those assessments when hearing loss causes you to lose those high-pitched tones. Loss of situational awareness and disorientation can be the result.
Part of the connection between hearing loss and falling is also in your age. As you get older, you’re more likely to experience permanent and advancing hearing loss. That will increase the probability of falling. Consequently, when you get older, falls are more likely to have serious consequences.
How can the danger of falling be lowered by using hearing aids?
It makes sense that hearing aids would be part of the solution when hearing loss is the problem. And this is being confirmed by new research. One recent study discovered that using hearing aids could cut your risk of a fall in half.
In the past, these figures (and the link between hearing aids and remaining on your feet) were a bit less clear. Partly, that’s because not everyone wears their hearing aids all of the time. So it was inconclusive how often hearing aid users were falling. This wasn’t because the hearing aids weren’t working, it was because individuals weren’t wearing them.
The approach of this study was carried out differently and perhaps more effectively. People who wore their hearing aids frequently were classified into a different group than those who used them intermittently.
So why does wearing your hearing aids help you avoid falls? Generally speaking, they keep you more vigilant, more focused, and less fatigued. It doesn’t hurt that you have added spatial awareness. Many hearing aids also come with a feature that can alert the authorities and family members if a fall happens. This can mean you get assistance faster (this is crucial for people 65 or older).
But the key here is to make sure you’re wearing your hearing aids frequently and regularly.
Invest in your fall prevention devices today
You will be able to stay close to your family members if you wear hearing aids, not to mention catch up with friends.
They can also help you stay on your feet, literally!
Make an appointment with us today if you want to find out more about how your quality of life can be improved.